Death outside Canada

This page explains what to do if you are the next of kin or representative of a Canadian who has died outside Canada.

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What to do first

Expect delays

Each country has different policies, procedures and local laws that apply when a foreigner dies in its jurisdiction. Timelines may often be longer than in Canada and delays can occur at any time. 


You must obtain an official death certificate from the authorities in the country where the death occurred. 

Documentation needed to transport remains

To be transported internationally, the remains of the deceased person must be accompanied by a copy of the death certificate that includes the cause of death. Other documents may be required, depending on the country of origin and the destination of the remains. These may include:  

The funeral service provider in the country where the person died is responsible for verifying the requirements. 

Check with the airline or other transport carrier to find out if they need any specific documentation. 

Funeral arrangements

Decide whether the remains of the deceased will be returned to Canada or buried or cremated in the country where the death occurred. Some countries do not allow cremation, and many have strict time limits on the cremation and burial process. The cause of death could also affect whether cremation is allowed in some countries. 

Consular officers at the nearest Canadian government office abroad can give you information on the local procedures. 

The local funeral home will provide options for burial or cremation.  

Repatriating remains to Canada

  1. Consider local limitations. Some countries may have few or no facilities for embalming and preparing remains for transportation.  
  2. Be aware of the rules and processes for returning remains to Canada. See the Canada Border Services Agency’s Importation and exportation of human remains and other human tissues for details. 
  3. Find qualified funeral homes in Canada and in the country where the death occurred as you will require their help to repatriate the remains of the deceased person to Canada.
  4. Airline regulations may vary for the repatriation of remains. You should not expect to travel on the same plane as the remains when they are being repatriated.


The date of the funeral service in Canada should only be determined after the remains have arrived and have cleared Canadian customs. Several factors could delay the return of the remains to Canada. 

The time required to repatriate remains can vary greatly and depends on a number of factors, including the procedures in the country where the death occurred and the cause of death. 

Transporting cremated remains by air


It can be very expensive to repatriate remains back to Canada and, depending on the circumstances of the death, it may take a long time. In many cases, the funeral home in the country where the person died will require a payment guarantee or payment upfront before starting the process. 

The costs of interpretation or translation services for documents or a ceremony overseas can add up.  

All costs related to a death abroad and the repatriation of remains are the responsibility of the deceased’s next of kin or estate. If the deceased had insurance, it may cover the costs directly or you may have to make the payments and be reimbursed later. 

If the next of kin or the estate cannot pay, final arrangements will be at the discretion of the host nation. This may include burial in a common grave, or donation of the remains to an educational facility. 

The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility for the final arrangements of deceased Canadians. 

If you need help

Contact us to inform us of the death and find out how we can help you. You may not need to travel to the country where the death occurred. Consular officials can help you understand the processes. They can also: 

While there is a lot we can do to help, Canadian government offices abroad will not: 

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